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Interactive Area Charts in Excel

In a recent post by Nathan from FlowingData, he does a great job of explaining how to interactive area charts.   For the average person, though, his approach requires a lot of existing knowledge…Flash, Flex, coding, etc.  So, I wanted to create a version that most people could create and use with NO coding required.  For all the grief (often deserved) that Microsoft gets, there’s actually a lot of power in the Office suite, and Excel is no exception.

In the following 3 videos, I cover how to create an interactive area chart in Excel without coding.  While I use Excel 2007, most of the features are available in at least the last two versions.  As with everything, this approach has limitations…two big ones, in fact.  First, it only works on PC.  It takes advantage of the Active X controls and those are, sadly, PC only.  Second, deals with a feature of charts in Excel that displays the label of lines/area with values of all zeros.  There is a work around for the second issue, but since it requires code, I decided that I could live with the limitation.  Generally, you won’t be displaying graph items with all zeros anyway, because why would you graph them?  But that’s another post.

In the first video (6:29), I discuss how to set up the basic spreadsheet to make the interactive chart:

In the second video (8:12), I show you how to create the first set of controls:

In the final video (5:48), we finish off all the controls and talk about the limitations:

I hope you find this useful!  Please let me know what you think and if you’d like to see other topics.

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